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HMRC internal manual

Customs Civil Penalties Guidance

Options for addressing a contravention: no action necessary

Generally when a compliance officer finds a contravention some form of action is necessary to help the trader achieve better compliance.

That may be to

  • where appropriate, provide education
  • issue a warning letter,
  • charge a penalty, or
  • recommend amending or revoking of an authorisation.

However, there may be some circumstances when, although we have found a contravention or contraventions, it is appropriate to take no penalty action. This will be in circumstances where taking any action is unlikely to improve compliance.

For example, it may not be appropriate to take any further action where

  • the contravention is an isolated occurrence or
  • typographical errors or miscalculations have been made or
  • the trader has a reasonable excuse, see CCPG11700, for the contravention having occurred.

Even where no further penalty action is appropriate, we must still draw the trader’s attention to the contraventions you have found in the post visit letter. Where possible, set out the detail of the corrective steps the trader needs to take to ensure compliance and prevent similar contraventions in future.

You must complete a Customs Penalty Action Checklist (CPAC) for any decision (including taking no action) you make about a contravention. You must then get your decision agreed by your manager.